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Super-silly The Meg is easy to swallow

Watery romp about a massive prehistoric shark knows it’s bad – but you’d have to be heavy of heart not to join in the fun

09 August, 2018 — By Dan Carrier

Jason Statham as deep-sea rescue diver Jona Thomas in The Meg

THE MEG
Directed by Jon Turteltaub
Certificate 12a
☆☆☆☆

WHO would have imagined Lock Stock mockney tough guy Jason Statham would have a career trajectory that goes from London gangster to Hollywood action hero, then survive all this and become a rather fun comic actor.

Because this action adventure film is a hoot-and-a-half, a super-silly watery romp about a massive prehistoric shark that swims up from the deep and sets about finding lunch.

Statham is Jona Thomas, a deep-sea rescue diver who has hung up his flippers after failing to save two friends from a sunken nuclear sub. We meet him as he sloshes back the beers in a Thailand beach bar when he is approached by the desperate crew of research station Mana One: they have sent a submersible down through a cloud of icy chemicals that previously scientists thought was the sea bed to find the real bottom of the ocean – and discovered a whole new eco-system. The deep-sea voyager is attacked by a mysterious – and very large – creature, so Jonas is dragged out of retirement to launch a rescue mission.

The monster responsible for the attack happens to be a 75ft megalodon – a whopper, in fisherman’s terms – and the film essentially swims along with Statham and a variety of clichéd sidekicks doing what they can to do it in before it eats them.

The cast of characters is great: Jonas’s grumpy ex-wife and fellow diver, new love interest who is a scientist on board the research station, the billionaire Elon Musk-type figure who has paid for a great range of deep sea gadgets to get ruined by the giant, and then various other team members who give you the chance to play a form of bingo as to who will be eaten next.

The Meg couples jump-up effects with a very funny script – characters deliver lines of such brilliant cheesiness you can imagine what a hoot it must have been to write. We stumble from one cliff-hanging moment to the next, continuously aware that when we think the Meg has maybe been sent to Davy Jones’ Locker, it is certainly going to make a chomping return.

There are references to Jaws moulded into some gruesome comic book-style deaths and silly jokes. This film is so bad but it knows it and you’d have to be very sour and heavy of heart not to join in the fun.

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